Florentino Perez was right about Cristiano Ronaldo the second time

Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo, Florentino Perez (Photo credit should read GERARD JULIEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo, Florentino Perez (Photo credit should read GERARD JULIEN/AFP via Getty Images) /

The list of legends to have played for Real Madrid over the years is truly astounding, and they are a testament to the fact that Real are recognized as the biggest club in the world – nobody else has won more Champions Leagues, for example. So when we say that Cristiano Ronaldo is unequivocally the best player to have played for this club – having won a mind-boggling four UCLs in a five-year period – we are giving him the highest honor.

Ronaldo’s unique status at Real has been further boosted by the fact that he left the club on top. He won the Champions League and was recognized as the best player on the planet when he left Real Madrid for Juventus, seeking a new challenge.

Some Madridistas have never forgiven president Florentino Perez and the club for selling Cristiano, who felt disrespected by the president himself. Zinedine Zidane had recommended the club sell Gareth Bale at peak value and keep Ronaldo. Perez did the opposite, and while Bale has been struggling with injuries these last few seasons, Ronaldo broke records in Serie A with the Old Lady.

But while Perez deserved to get blasted by fans for selling Ronaldo at the time, he eventually may have been vindicated by believing in a rebuilding project that could eventually include Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland together – the two best players in football for the next decade.

Florentino Perez was right not to sign Cristiano Ronaldo last summer

I don’t want to get into that, though, because Real Madrid could have won another Champions League title (what if? what if?) if Ronaldo never left.

What I do want to say is that Perez was absolutely right about one thing. A Ronaldo reunion this past summer was not a good idea.

Full disclosure: I thought it was. Ronaldo reunited with Manchester United, which has proven to be a poor career decision given the dysfunction and poorly-assembled squad reminiscent of Juve’s midfield woes. However, he seemed to clearly be angling for a Madrid return, even using his buddy Edu Aguirre as a sacrificial lamb of sorts. Aguirre reported Carlo Ancelotti’s interest in Ronaldo, and when Ancelotti and the club maintained their stance of not wanting CR7, the then-Juventus forward quickly distanced himself from the rumors…only to leave Turin anyway for a different former club of his.

How much Ronaldo wanted a Madrid return is unknown, but what is known is that Florentino Perez never wanted him. He probably never wanted him back after making the initial decision to sell, even if, on paper, a one-year 2021-2022 rental for Ronaldo before Mbappe’s arrival seemed like a low-risk, high-reward move.

Vinicius Junior is why Real Madrid were wise for passing up on Cristiano Ronaldo

Perez being right about not signing Ronaldo isn’t about money or pride or any weird reason I am sure some people would like to concoct. It comes down to one person.

Vinicius Junior.

The 2021-2022 season is the season of Vini, whose importance was further magnified in his COVID-19-related absence at Getafe.

If Mbappe and Haaland are possible superstars of the future at the Santiago Bernabeu, Vinicius Junior is the current superstar. He is not just a superstar of the future. Vini is already fulfilling his potential, grabbing the starting left wing job with vastly-improved finishing that is down to psychological improvements encouraged by Carlo Ancelotti.

Vinicius Jr. is the future of Real Madrid

Had Los Blancos signed Ronaldo, we probably never would have seen this Vini breakout. Ronaldo would have started with his old pal Karim Benzema, and Vini would have been fighting for scraps on the left wing whenever CR7 needed a rest – and we know how little he rests.

Perez has always believed in Vinicius. The Brazilian from Flamengo was his prized investment years ago, and despite the doubts and the transfer rumors (including those involving a swap with Mbappe), the president stuck by him.

And he has been vindicated in the best way possible. Vinicius, this season, has been leaps and bounds above Ronaldo, even with the caveat that the latter has to play with a midfield that is so below Real’s a Go-Kart/F1 comparison would be woefully inadequate.

Nevertheless, Vinicius is excellent now and will be even better for the next decade to come. Ronaldo could have accomplished great things in Madrid this season. He remains a quality player, irrespective of the endless social media debates about the extent of his decline. Yet there is a kernel of truth belying these bloated, tiring arguments; he is no longer the explosive machine on the left wing that Real Madrid, with their system, needs. And with his wages, perhaps Real wanted more than a clinical finisher.

dark. Next. The 5 players Real Madrid should have never sold

Vinicius is that “more”. And his breakout is by far the biggest positive of a 2021-2022 season that could include a trophy – or two. So in the end, Perez was right about Cristiano Ronaldo. Well, at least in 2021 – the second time around.